The universe has been talking lately, so I’m listening. I teach a class at a university where students are required to plan out educational, life, and career goals. They’re required to lay out steps to achieve those goals. I’ve been listening to podcasts about health and wellness, all with concrete goals in mind. I am a recent graduate of a coaching program soon to seek board certification. We practice setting clearly defined goals and making small changes to move the needle. And so on.
Me? Currently working three jobs and *hoping life will lead me in a great direction. I have realized lately that I am not practicing what I preach. I *hope I’ll lose the weight before that big vacation, I *hope we can get the credit cards paid off, I *hope we can make the house updates we want, and I *hope, eventually, I’ll reduce my work down to one (ok maybe two) amazing job that pays well, and that provides benefits. I *hope we can afford those vacations. You get the idea…
I would imagine the concept of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive) is familiar to many of you. If not, here’s one resource:https://www.smartsheet.com/blog/essential-guide-writing-smart-goals. Admittedly, as I prepped this posting, I found some research that SMART goals in and of themselves don’t drive change or may have negative effects on psychology. What I also found is that if you write goals down, say them out loud, and celebrate your wins, you’re much more likely to achieve your goals. You decide.
Here’s my question: When was the last time you sat down and actually examined your life? When was the last time you actually took the time to write down your goals? My guess is that, like me, you have a lot of fantasy-type ideas (I hope!) on how you want your life to look, but you haven’t written down concrete goals or the action steps it will take you to get there.
So, let’s do this together. Seriously. Get a pen and paper. You can make it simple and brief, if that’s the amount of time you have, or have fun with it when you have more time. Write down 3-5 areas of your life where you want to make change or progress. Don’t know where to start? Call to mind something in any of the following areas of your life that you’d like to improve upon: Career, Finance, Health, Family, Relationships, Fun/Enjoyment, Education, Physical Environment, Mental Health, or Spirituality. Then pick just one that you want to work on.
Now, let’s turn it into a SMART goal.
For example, rather than “I’d hope I can get my credit cards paid off soon,” write, “I will pay off $3000 of credit card debt within 6 months (put a specific date on it). If that’s not realistic, then choose something that is. You can’t measure credit card debt without a number or “soon” without a date. Then, lay out the actions to meet that goal. What is the first step, no matter how small, to achieve that goal? Maybe that step is “pay $300 from each paycheck towards credit cards”. I’m no financial expert, but you get the hypothetical idea.
There are two keys to success. 1. Put in the work. Every day. No one is going to do this for you. Only YOU can do it for you. But it doesn’t have to be sweeping or major. Even the tiniest step toward progress is progress! 2. Celebrate!! Woo-hoo, you took a step! Seriously! Yay! You are that much closer to your dream. The cycle of action and reward will reinforce the behaviors you want to continue, and you’ll be more likely to keep moving forward.
What if I fail, you ask? Then I’d ask you this: What happens if you do nothing? What is the cost of inaction? My guess is that you’ll be in the same place you are now. How does that sit with you? Really? Close your eyes and imagine it. Is the fear of failure causing inertia? (Guilty!). But (big shocker), none of us are perfect. All of us make mistakes. If you expect and forgive some mistakes, and PLEASE do not beat yourself up for them, you are more likely to keep on trying. Progress and change take time. Be patient and kind to yourself.
Key takeaways?: If you don’t know exactly what you’re aiming for, how will you know if you’ve achieved the goal? How will you identify the steps to get you there? Start now, right now, today, and take the first small step toward your goal. Then celebrate! Put it on repeat.
I’d love to know what you’re up to and what goal you’re going after. Friends, you got this! I’m right there beside you!
The Science of Stuck, Britt Frank https://www.scienceofstuck.com/
Mel Robbins Podcasts, trainings, books. Check out : https://www.melrobbins.com/